NORWAY — The Norway Fire Department is looking to purchase a command vehicle to help firefighters communicate in a more efficient manner while at the scene of a fire, according to Fire Chief Dennis Yates.

The Board of Selectmen are holding a workshop at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at the Norway Town Office, just before the regularly scheduled board meeting, to answer questions about the proposal.

Fire Chief Dennis Yates said that a command vehicle would “carry radios, accountability boards and gas meters, among other things” to the scene of a fire.

Most importantly, he added, the radios would be individualized to each position within the fire department.

“Rather than having one radio with four voices talking over each other, each radio would be tuned into its own station,” Yates said.

Having multiple people talking through one radio can result in important information being missed during a fire, Yates said.

Yates said that a chilling illustration of how information can be missed happened four years ago, when his wife, firefighter Christine Yates, fell through the floor of a burning home while searching for possible occupants.

“We asked why she didn’t make a mayday call right away, and she said that she did,” Yates said. “It wasn’t heard right away because there was so much crosstalk.”

Town Manager Dennis Lajoie said that Norway has three new board members and two returning members, “so we thought it’d be good to have the fire department come in and explain what a command vehicle is and why they need it.”

The towns of Oxford and Paris have a command vehicle, Lajoie said, and the Paris fire chief is planning to bring the department’s vehicle to the workshop.

Lajoie said that there won’t be a vote or any action taken following the workshop.

“This is just a chance for the board to ask questions to the fire department about the vehicle,” he said.


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